In this episode, I’m joined by two allopathic program directors, Dr. Scott Porter and Dr. Charles Jobin.  They worked together on the recent JAAOS article, “Survival Guide to the Orthopaedic Match”.   Dr. Porter was recently the program director for the Greenville Orthopedic Surgery Residency and is transitioning to another role in medical eduction as Chief Diversity Officer.  Dr. Jobin is program director for the Columbia Orthopedic Surgery Residency.  The Survival Guide is a pretty comprehensive review of the current orthopedic surgery application process.  In this episode we discuss the process in general and also how they evaluate applications for their own residencies.

In our discussion, we dive into a couple of topics in particular.  Board scores, in particular the USMLE Step I, is a commonly used metric when reviewing applications. This is a less than perfect measure of which applications will ultimately go on to become good surgeons and the weight placed on this score has led to an ever increasing average score and fodder for a “residency arms race”.  Even so, it still seems to be one of the most available methods of quantifiably evaluating the many applicants that flock to the specialty.

Letters of recommendation can be another area in which your application can stand out.  However, a bad letter can definitely hurt you. As program directors who have read their fill of good and bad letters, Dr. Porter and Dr. Jobin discuss characteristics of each.  Who should you get a letter from?  How do you go about requesting one?

We also discuss away rotations. Allopathic programs do not require applicants to do away rotations.  Deciding on wether or not to do away rotations then is about understanding your strengths and weaknesses.  Will spending a prolonged period of time with your top choice programs benefit or hurt you?  The key here is to be painfully honest and position yourself to take advantage of what will not only make you a stand-out applicant but an outstanding orthopedic surgeon.

Listen in to understand how program directors approach the application process!